Another pastor has come out to confess his secret deeds, openly. The senior pastor of one of the largest and most progressive churches has been put on paid leave after he made a shocking confessing to an extramarital affair with another woman for over nine months.
In an apology letter to his congregation, Rev. Reggie Weaver of Westminster Presbyterian Church said he and his wife, Ashley-Anne Masters, have begun the process of divorce as a result of his infidelity.
“I have violated my ordination vows and my wedding vows,” the 33-year-old Rev. Weaver wrote in a letter to the congregation on Friday through the regional governing body for local Presbyterian churches in America. “I am sorry and I ask your forgiveness.”
Church members were notified after worship services on May 4 that Weaver had requested time off from pastoral duties. Friday’s update to the congregation included details of an affair that happened since Weaver came to become the Senior Pastor of the church branch in July.
“Talking to members tonight almost everyone’s reactions were of sadness — sadness for Reggie and Ashley-Anne — and then, overwhelmingly, forgiveness,” said church member Robert Bell, who was at the church Saturday. “It’s not always easy and it takes a lot of strength to forgive, but Westminster is a pretty strong church.”
One of the church’s longtime staff pastors, Rev. Mark Brainerd, has been named as interim pastor.
The future of Rev. Weaver, seen as a rising star in national Presbyterian circles, is being taken up by a judicial committee within the Presbytery and could include a suspension or removal of his ordination.
“In some ways, it’s like a death,” Bill Leonard, a professor at Wake Forest University’s School of Divinity, said of the fallout for the congregation. “It’s a whole grief process — not only in their sadness over someone they love and admired but someone they trusted. It’s very tragic for him, his family and the congregation.”
Surprisingly, Rev. Weaver’s letter also referenced an “emotional affair” with a lady in Chicago prior to moving to Greensboro, during the time he was being considered to lead the 2,000-member church here, which is known for its outreach to the community and mission work abroad.
When the predominantly white Westminster Presbyterian hired Weaver, the church was lauded for hiring its first African-American minister.
Now Rev. Weaver’s action has put a dent on the church’s love for African-American pastors.